Category Archives: Beverages

Cold Brew Coffee

One of my favourite things to do is listen to Podcasts. I’ve always enjoyed listening when driving or walking the dog, but especially since becoming a mom since my time available for learning has plummeted. Podcasts let me consume content while doing something else! The Balanced Bites podcast is one of my favourites, and it was also the first place I learned about Cold Brew Coffee (a popular brand in the USA is a sponsor).

Fairly early into my coffee journey (I started enjoying a cup daily midway through high school. I blame my parents! lol) I realized iced coffee was amazing. But my favourite was a super sweet fake dessert iced coffee from Starbucks – so not super ideal for health. Then one VERY HOT summer working on a rooftop restaurant in Toronto, I started drinking plain ol’ iced coffee with some milk and sugar. I quickly learned that the best results came from brewing an espresso, chilling it and then turning it into iced coffee – that way it wasn’t watered down like when you brew coffee and try to chill it quickly with just ice! But it also took forethought.

Fast forward to this summer, where my coffee obsession is fairly high (this time I blame the baby. Ha!) and it’s hot. I’m often heading out in the morning when I want my second coffee, and can’t stand drinking hot coffee on a hot day. I tried to make an extra pot in the morning and chill it for later, but it doesn’t usually happen. That’s why DIY Cold Brew entered my life.

Cold Brew Coffee is exactly as it sounds. Coffee that’s been brewed cold, instead of with hot water. There are many reasons for the rise of Cold Brew Coffee – with the most common being the smooth, rich flavour it has combined with the less acidic feeling in the stomach. I like it because it takes 1 minute to prep and allows me to have iced coffee all week! Here’s how:

Homemade Cold Brew Coffee

1. Measure out ¾ cup of organic, fair or direct trade coffee (why direct trade?), ground on the coarsest grind setting you have. I’m sure a high powered blender would work if you don’t have a  coffee grinder. Fine grind = bitter coffee, so make sure it’s coarse! Coarser (like with a mortar and pestle coarse) is better than fine any day!


2. Dump coarse-ground coffee grinds into a 1L jar.

3. Add 3 cups of filtered water to the jar. It can be cold or room temperature. Secure lid and place in fridge for 12-24 hours. (Note, after making this once, I no longer measure the water because I know that the jar is almost full with the water and grinds combined!) 

4. After desired length of brew (I like 18-24 hours best), remove from fridge, strain into another jar and voila – you’re done! Coffee for the week, or a few days if you are sharing with someone.

Keep in mind that cold brew is MUCH higher in caffeine. So enjoy smaller servings and/or water down with water, ice and your desired milk (I like full-fat coconut milk or grassfed cream). I also like to sweeten with a touch of maple syrup!

My favourite way to enjoy cold-brew is:

  • small cup, filled with ice
  • ½ cup cold brew
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1-2 tsp maple syrup

You can also heat up cold brew and enjoy it like a normal cup of coffee! I do this on Crossfit mornings, when I want cup of coffee fast, and don’t want to wait for it to brew. I can have a delicious cup of coffee ready to go in less than a minute!

Are you an iced coffee drinker? Or are you a purest and only enjoy a cuppa joe hot. Share your favourite way for enjoying this delicious vice in the comments below!


Green Mango Smoothie

Green Mango Smoothie | AmandaNaturally.comI’m going to be honest with you, I’ve never been a big smoothie fan. When I started down my health journey, I had a smoothie every morning for breakfast for about 2 years, then hit a wall and haven’t enjoyed them in years. However, so many people love them, and they are a great healthy option for fast and on-the-go meals, so I’ve always kept them in my arsenal when working with clients.

Recently, smoothies have totally been my jam. This is for a few reasons:

  1. It’s summer, crazy hot and I am 7 months pregnant
  2. My stomach is small so a liquid breakfast allows me to get in more nutrition right now
  3. I have a lot of appointments so I often come back from the gym, have a half hour turn around and am out the door to the chiro or midwives. Or I’m seeing clients of my own. So even though I’m not a big fan of eating on the go (it’s important to relax in order to digest friends!), taking a smoothie in the car has been a life saver some mornings.
  4. It’s hot. I’m hot. Smoothies are cold and therefore taste AMAZING. For breakfast, lunch or dinner. Did I mention I’m hot? (#pregancyproblems)

If you haven’t read my detailed post on How To Build a Healthy Smoothie – go read it now! It also has a recipe for a chocolate smoothie – which is great for moving kids (or adults) over to a real food breakfast when they’re used to sugar-filled ones. 

This recipe for my Green Mango Smoothie has been my go-to this summer. The tropical flavour combination is so delicious, and it’s a great opportunity to get some extra veggies in, as well as collagen protein (one of the amazing nutrients found in bone broth, that is critical for bone/connective tissue development – key for pregnancy, and healing in general)! Not to mention protein when my stomach is feeling small, haha.


Choosing a Protein Powder

This can be a bit of a learning process to find your favourite. Here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Collagen Peptides by Vital Proteins – hands down my favourite. No flavour, incredibly good for your entire body (gut, joints, bones, skin, hair, nails – pretty much everything.). It’s often available on but as of pressing publish on this post (July 14/16), it’s out of stock right now. Alternatively, Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate is a good option and can sometimes be found at health food stores like Healthy Planet. 
    1. safe on the autoimmune protocol
    2. great for kids
    3. not a complete protein, so not a good post-workout option (at least not on its own), but great as part of a balanced diet that includes whole protein sources like meat, fish and eggs.
  2. Organic, Grassfed or New Zealand Whey – the most bioavailable, easy to use protein, BUT made from dairy. So if you do not tolerate dairy, this is not an option for you. If you do tolerate whey protein, getting a plain, high quality protein is your best bet. My favourite brand is Prairie Naturals because it’s much more local than New Zealand whey, but nutritionally they are on par.
    1. SIDE NOTE: it took me 5 years of strict dairy-free and epic amounts of gut healing before I was able to reintroduce whey protein.
  3. Hemp Protein – I like the Manitoba Harvest brand because they use coconut sugar to sweeten, instead of stevia like most other natural brands (which can be a gut irritant for some). It’s a little grainy, so I often recommend using a half dose in combination with a scoop of collagen.
  4. Pumpkin Seed Protein – the only brand I have seen is Omega Alpha. It’s similar to hemp in that it’s grainy, but it has no other ingredients.
  5. Brown Rice Protein – this is my least favourite, personally, because it tastes like sand to me. But it’s my husband’s favourite. He thinks it’s less grainy than hemp or pumpkin, and doesn’t tolerate whey. His go-to is the Prairie Naturals brand (full-disclosure, he formulates products for them, so has a slight bias towards the company. But he also works for them because he loves their products and values as a company!)

Things to avoid in protein powders:Green Mango Smoothie |

  • aspartame, sucralose and acesulfame-potassium (all artificial sweeteners)
  • artificial flavours
  • colours
  • pea protein, a common component of most plant-based/vegan protein powders (very cheap, incredibly hard on the gut)
  • soy protein (unless it’s organic, it’s guaranteed to be GMO and covered in RoundUp, not to mention soy can be very estrogenic, which can be useful under the direction of a practitioner, just don’t go it alone)

Green Mango Smoothie

Green Mango Smoothie
Serves 1
Healthy, nutrient dense and tastes like the tropics!
Write a review
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 cup frozen mango pieces
  2. 1 small banana (or ½ a ripe avocado)
  3. 1 handful of spinach
  4. ¼ cup full-fat canned coconut milk (preferred brand: Aroy D)
  5. ½ tsp vanilla extract (omit for strict AIP)
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. ½ - ¾ cup water (depending on desired thickness)
  8. 1 serving of protein (approximately 15-25g)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until the spinach is thoroughly broken down.
  3. Enjoy!
Protein Powder Options
  1. MY FAV: 1 scoop Vital Proteins collagen + 1 scoop Prairie Natrurals whey or Manitoba Harvest hemp
  2. AIP: only use collagen (1-2 scoops)
  3. POST-WO: whey, hemp or brown rice
Amanda Naturally


It’s pretty hard to look at any health-related article these days, without seeing the microbiome mentioned at least once! And for good reason. The microbiome (or flora) is the sum total of all the critters that live in your gut (and skin, vaginal tract etc.). By critters I mean bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, parasites. There are about 100 trillion microorganism cells in/on our body – which is about 10 times the amount of human cells we have. So what that means is we are more bacteria than we are human!

So far we know that the make up of your gut flora is absolutely critical to determining your health. We also seem to understand that what we know is only the tip of the iceberg. Some of the functions we know they are responsible for are:

  • create food for your intestinal cells
  • prime your immune system and support lymph tissue surrounding the intestinal tract (known as the GALT)
  • digest your food
  • release vitamins that are bound up in fibres
  • maintain the integrity of your intestinal tract
  • synthesize vitamins (like vitamin K and some B vitamins)
  • suppress pathogenic and opportunistic microbial growth
  • regulate metabolism
  • compose about 75% of our immune system

Dysregulated Microbiome (a.k.a. Dysbiosis)

When the opportunistic or pathogenic microbes overgrow and take over the good guys, you get a state of dysbiosis. Dysbiosis, or an imbalance in gut flora, has been associated with:

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • depression
  • autoimmune conditions
  • obesity
  • type 1 diabetes
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • and many more diseases (pretty much any area of health which we don’t understand, and actually lots of those that we do, have cutting edge research being done on how the gut flora impact/contribute to that disease)

This imbalance is caused by 3 things:

  1. consuming foods that promote overgrowth (sugar, refined carbs, vegetable oils, too much fat, gluten, whole grains, legumes) or foods that you are sensitive to
  2. not consuming enough vegetables (both non-starchy and starchy), the food for beneficial flora
  3. not consuming beneficial bacteria regularly as part of your diet

Why Fermented Foods?

Fermented foods are the original probiotic. In an effort to preserve vegetables and have them last through the winter, humans started to ferment them. With the advent of refrigeration, we stopped needing to ferment veggies to preserve them. Unfortunately we didn’t realize how much we actually needed the byproduct of fermentation – probiotics. 

Food > Supplement

So why consume fermented foods if you can take a probiotic? Well, the top of the line, highest quality probiotic supplements usually contain between 4-10 strains of bacteria. Homemade sauerkraut can contain between 50 and 500 different strains. And what’s most important for creating a healthy gut microbiome, is variety and frequency.

So choosing a variety of different types of foods – fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, homemade yogurt (either grassfed dairy or coconut) and kombucha – on a daily basis is a fabulous way to constantly be reinoculating your gut with a wide variety of beneficial critters.


Kombucha is one of my favourite fermented foods – mostly because it tastes way more like a treat, than a ferment like sauerkraut. Full disclosure, it’s not nearly as rich in numbers or variety of bacteria, but it does have one good thing going for it. It’s filled with beneficial yeast, who do an awesome job at keeping opportunistic yeast (like Candida) from overgrowing. So while I love the ‘booch, I don’t recommend relying on it as your main source of probiotics.

NOTE: during my first trimester my sour taste buds were like on steroids. Salad dressings, grapefruit, even romaine lettuce were painfully sour. So you can imagine what fermented veggies were like. The only fermented food I could tolerate was kombucha!


Making Your Own Kombucha

As much as I love kombucha, it can get real expensive. A bottle of GT’s (a popular brand) ranges from $3.70-$4.99 – which adds up quick! So when I started consuming ‘booch regularly (instead of just as a treat), I knew I had to make my own otherwise I’d drink us out of house and home! It took me a while to get a routine going, and there are lot of variations out there, but this is how I do it and I’ve been very successful for months now!


  • 1L purified water (divided into 2x 2 cups)
  • 1 organic tea bag, plain black
  • ¼ cup organic sugar cane
  • ¼ cup kombucha from a previous batch
  • 1 small SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – this little mushroom like thing that floats around in your liquid, eats up the sugar and infuses your beverage with gut-healing magic. Note – the SCOBY seen in the pictures below is HUGE because I’ve been using it with high volume continue kombucha brewing for about a year now. Most are just a few inches in diameter.)

Directions – Part 1

  1. Boil 2 cups of the water in a small pot.

  2. Once boiled, stir in the sugar until fully dissolved.

  3. Add the tea bag. You’re now making sweet tea! (note, I’m making a quadruple batch here)

  4. Add remaining 2 cups of water (to help speed up the cooling down process).

  5. Cover the pot with a lid and let cool to room temperature. You can put it in the fridge for a few hours to help speed up the process, but don’t let it get too cold.

  6. Once it’s at room temperature, pour the sweet tea into a clean jar, add the SCOBY and kombucha from a previous batch.
  7. Cover with a coffee filter or dish towel and let sit in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks. Homemade Kombucha |

Part 2

  1. Once the 2 weeks are up, pour off almost all of the kombucha into a separate jar or juice jug, retaining enough to make another batch.Homemade Kombucha |

  2. You have the option to do a 2nd fermentation at this point, but I didn’t like the hassle so I don’t do it. Feel free to google it if you’re interested in a more fizzy beverage!
  3. Add flavour to your kombucha. My favourites are:
    1. lemon / ginger
    2. organic cherries
    3. mango

  4. Store kombucha, with the flavouring in it, in the fridge!Homemade Kombucha |

  5. Meanwhile, repeat Part 1, with the leftover kombucha you retained.Homemade Kombucha |

Continual Kombucha

Every other Friday I make a new batch of kombucha. I start with Part 1, but since I have an old batch going, as soon as the new sweet tea is cooled to room temperature, I begin Part 2. I empty out most of the 2 week fermented kombucha into juice jugs with flavouring, leaving the SCOBY and enough kombucha in the bottom for the next batch. Then I pour the cooled sweet tea in and recover. Takes me about 20 minutes (plus a few hours wait time) every 2 weeks.


  • Start tasting the kombucha after 1 week to make sure you achieve your desired flavour. The goal is to have most of the sugar gone, so it shouldn’t be super sweet. But it also shouldn’t be vinegary.
  • Don’t increase the size of your batch too quickly. I did and it resulted in a mouldy mess because the SCOBY wasn’t big enough to handle the sugar and keep the opportunistic microbes at bay. Start increasing slowly. Start with 1L, then do 1.5L, 2L, 3L etc. I now follow the exact ratio above, but for 4L at a time. It lasts 2 of us 2 weeks – and we each drink abut 4oz a day.
  • The SCOBY is a slimy mushroomy looking thing. But it’s not mould. Mould is very different. Here’s a good visual:
  • Your best bet is to get a piece of SCOBY from someone who has one going. Alternatively you can rehydrate one from a company like Cultures for Health. Apparently you can create a SCOBY by following the above process with a bottle of plain, store-bought kombucha too. But I’ve never done it, so you’ll want to google that!
  • You need to use sugar cane, not honey. Honey can introduce undesirable bacteria. Most of the sugar gets eaten up by the SCOBY.
  • If you let your ‘booch go too long, don’t throw it out. Instead turn it into jello jigglers – just make sure to add honey to combat the vinegary taste!
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